Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking backwards, its always easy to recognise mistakes and lost opportunities. But that's no reason not to indulge in a little 'looking back' and the 1977 'Somerton Town Plan' gives some idea of what was on the community's mind a little more than three decades ago.
On page 68 of the document (see below) its interesting to notice that high on the agenda was the idea of a dual purpose community facility which would expand the the existing Sports Club's building whilst, at the same time, giving the community a hall capable of satisfying its needs. The idea of a multi-purpose facility would go a long way to ensuring that the investment was utilised fully and, today, the concept could be developed further to include consideration of the needs of Somerton's schools.
The advantage of a project which would address educational needs as well as those of the community would be to open the door to additional funding. It would, of course, mean that the schools would have some sort of exclusive use of the facility for periods of time but that would seem a small price to pay. Bringing the schools into the mix would greatly extend the stakeholder group, bringing parents into the facility on a regular basis and making such a building a very real part of the community. Compare that concept to what we have now - an unloved tin box on the furthest edge of the town in the middle of a concrete wasteland.
So, how did Somerton get into this unholy mess? The answer to that question is simple - Somerton didn't get itself into this mess, Somerton Town Council got Somerton into this mess. The problem now is whether or not Somerton Town Council can extricate itself and, if it does, how much is that going to cost Somerton?
Given his recent comments about the value of the building, a number of Somertonians have contacted Muck&Brass to suggest that Cllr Tony Canvin may wish to buy the Tin Dunny. Muck&Brass doubts that will happen and, if the Dunny is sold off, Muck&Brass doubts that Somerton will be able to recover the Town Council's investment.
Meanwhile, further expenditure on the Dunny is clearly being planned with mention being made of rainwater harvesting and installation of solar collectors or one sort or another. Talk about throwing good money after bad. Its fair to ask, exactly what is the community getting in return for this investment? Very little, but that was never the idea, was it?
Till next time, may your God go with you.